LAS VEGAS, Nev. (June 18, 2023) – The U.S. Men’s National Team won the 2022/23 Concacaf Nations League title on Sunday night with a 2-0 victory over Canada at Allegiant Stadium. Center back Chris Richards and forward Folarin Balogun became the first and second players to score their first international goals in a Final, with both first-half goals assisted by midfielder Gio Reyna as the USMNT claimed its third consecutive Concacaf tournament, adding to its 2021 Nations League and 2021 Gold Cup titles.
Captain and forward Christian Pulisic was named the tournament’s Best Player and goalkeeper Matt Turner took Best Goalkeeper honors. Forward Ricardo Pepi finished tied with Canada’s Jonathan David with four goals in the tournament.
Head coach B.J. Callaghan fielded the youngest starting XI deployed by the USMNT in a tournament final, with an average age just under 24 years-old and featuring seven players 23 or younger.
Despite the youth, veteran defender Walker Zimmerman and Turner made key plays early on that helped set the tone for another dominant and exciting performance. Seven minutes in, Zimmerman found himself high up field and took a cross from the left at the top of the box and one-timed a left-footed volley with pace that went narrowly wide. Second later, Turner made the first of four solid saves to deny an attempt by forward Cyle Larin.
Meanwhile, Reyna and winger Tim Weah caused Canada problems with their speed and attacking prowess. Shortly after Weah nearly connected with Pulisic at the near post, Reyna delivered a corner kick in the 12th minute that Richards headed in from seven yards out for his first career goal.
While the U.S. looked sharp in the attack, Canada held their own and kept possession for long spurts.
Just past the half hour mark, Reyna set up Balogun for the USA’s second goal as the forward held his mark off with strength and hit a first-time shot from close range for his first USMNT goal in only his second match.
Turner kept the two-goal advantage with diving saves off shots from Alphonso Davies at the near post and a rip from Stephen Eustáquio from 22 yards out. Later, a long ball from Turner was inadvertently headed back by defender Scott Kennedy, but goalkeeper Milan Borjan reacted to avoid the own goal.
In the 55th minute, Richards was playing high on a set piece as a second-chance ball made its way towards goal. Richards out-jumped Canada’s defenders and headed a dangerous ball that Borjan tipped off the crossbar. The ensuing corner fell to Balogun, who turned from four yards out and fired a shot past Borjan, but Kennedy blocked it off the goal line. The rebound fell to Yunus Musah, whose shot was saved by Borjan.
Canada pressed high for most of the second half, however could not break down the USA’s composed and attuned back line.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
USA - Chris Richards (Gio Reyna), 12th minute: Tim Weah had just beat his man and played a dangerous ball to the near post to Christian Pulisic that was blocked at the last second. Reyna stepped up for the corner and delivered a cross just outside the six-yard box that Richards jumped for, heading down the ball back toward the middle of the goal that evaded Borjan as his momentum had taken him to his right. USA 1, CAN 0
USA - Folarin Balogun (Gio Reyna), 34th minute: Reyna played two roles in the goal, first heading down a cleared ball towards Weah, who headed the ball quickly back to Reyna. Reyna advanced forward and seeing Balogun keep his line with a man on his back, played the forward a simple but clever ball to his right side. Balogun shielded the ball and took a first-time shot with his right toward the near post, beating Borjan for his first international goal. USA 2, CAN 0
- This was the ninth time the USMNT has claimed a trophy from a tournament final. The team won both editions of the Concacaf Nations League in 2021 and 2023, as well as seven Concacaf Gold Cups in 1991, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2013, 2017 and 2021.
- With an average age of 23 years, 314 days, the Starting XI is the youngest deployed by the USMNT in a tournament final, besting the previous mark of 24 years, 207 days from the 2021 Concacaf Nations League Final victory against Mexico. The Starting XI was also the second youngest in a Knockout Round match, coming in behind the lineup that began the Gold Cup quarterfinal against Jamaica on July 25, 2021 (23 years, 280 days).
- Chris Richards became the first USMNT player to score his first international goal in a final when he nodded home a corner kick from Gio Reyna in the 12th minute. Folarin Balogun became the second player to score his first international goal in a final when he finished off a feed from Reyna in the 34th minute.
- Twenty-year-old Reyna collected his second and third career assists on the two first half goals. With his other assist coming along with the opening goal in the 2021 CNL Final against Mexico, Reyna now has four goal contributions in his two tournament final appearances, surpassing Clint Dempsey (1 goal, 2 assists) and Landon Donovan (3 goals) for most in USMNT history. Reyna also became the first player in team history to appear in two finals before his 21st birthday.
- Matt Turner made four saves to earn his 19th clean sheet in his 28th overall cap. The shutout was also his 15th in official competition, moving him past Brad Guzan into sole possession of third in competitive shutouts among USMNT goalkeepers. He now stands behind only Kasey Keller (34) and Tim Howard (29).
- After the match, Christian Pulisic was named the Concacaf Nations League ‘Best Player’ and Matt Turner took Best Goalkeeper honors. This was Turner’s second such recognition, having also claimed the trophy following the 2021 Gold Cup.
- The lineup averaged 26 caps and 17 in official competition.
- B.J. Callaghan made three changes to the squad that started Thursday’s semifinal against Mexico, inserting defenders Joe Scally for Sergiño Dest (suspended), Brenden Aaronson for Weston McKennie (suspended) and Walker Zimmerman for Miles Robinson (hamstring tightness).
- Yunus Musah, Gio Reyna and Joe Scally became the first trio of 20-year-olds to start a final for the USMNT.
- Nine of the USMNT Starting XI were age 25 and younger: Antonee Robinson (25), Christian Pulisic (24), Chris Richards and Tim Weah (23), Brenden Aaronson (22), Folarin Balogun (21), Yunus Musah, Gio Reyna and Joe Scally (20).
- Captaining the USMNT for the 16th time, Christian Pulisic made his third appearance in a final.
- This was the USMNT’s fifth-straight appearance in a Concacaf Final: 2017, 2019, 2021 Gold Cup Finals and 2021 and 2023 Concacaf Nations League Finals.
- With four goals apiece, substitute striker Ricardo Pepi tied with Canada’s Jonathan David for the 2022-23 Concacaf Nations League Golden Boot lead. However David held the tie-breaker over Pepi by having collected two assists.
- The USA holds a 17-10-12 advantage in the all-time series against Canada and is 10-8-5 against Les Rouges in competitive matches.
-U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States Men’s National Team vs. Canada
Date: June 18, 2023
Competition: Concacaf Nations League; Final
Venue: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET (5:30 p.m. local)
Weather: 95 degrees; windy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 0 2
CAN 0 0 0
USA – Chris Richards (Gio Reyna) 12th minute
USA – Folarin Balogun (Gio Reyna) 34
USA: 1-Matt Turner; 19-Joe Scally (23-Auston Trusty, 79), 3-Walker Zimmerman, 4-Chris Richards, 5-Antonee Robinson; 11-Brenden Aaronson (15-Johnny Cardoso, 68), 6-Yunus Musah, 7-Gio Reyna (14-Luca de la Torre, 46); 21-Tim Weah, 20-Folarin Balogun (9-Ricardo Pepi, 76), 10-Christian Pulisic (capt.)
Substitutes not used: 13-Drake Callender, 18-Sean Johnson, 12-Miles Robinson, 16-Alan Soñora, 17-Alex Zendejas, 22-Taylor Booth
Suspended: 2-Sergiño Dest, 8-Weston McKennie
Head coach: B.J. Callaghan
CAN: 18-Milan Borjan; 2-Alistair Johnston, 23-Scott Kennedy, 4-Kamal Miller; 22-Richie Laryea, 8-Ismaël Koné, 7-Stephen Eustáquio (10-David Junior Hoilett, 89), 19-Alphonso Davies; 20-Jonathan David, 21-Jonathan Osorio, 17-Cyle Larin (9-Lucas Cavallini, 76)
Substitutes not used: 1-Dayne St. Clair, 16-Tom McGill, 3-Samuel Adekugbe, 5-Steven Vitória, 6-Dominick Zator, 11-Tajon Buchanan, 12-Victor Loturi, 13-Atiba Hutchinson, 15-David Wotherspoon
Head coach: John Herdman
Stats Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 15 / 12
Shots on Goal: 7 / 4
Saves: 4 / 5
Corner Kicks: 8 / 5
Fouls: 16 / 15
Offside: 0 / 1
CAN – Scott Kennedy (Caution) 15th minute
CAN – Richie Laryea (Caution) 45+4
USA – Johnny Cardoso (Caution) 80
USA – Matt Turner (Caution) 81
Referee: Said Martinez (HON)
Assistant 1: Walter Lopez (HON)
Assistant 2: Christian Ramirez (HON)
Fourth Official: Selvin Brown (HON)
VAR: Ricardo Montero (CRC)
Assistant VAR: Benjamin Pineda (CRC)
U.S. Soccer Insiders Man of the Match: Gio Reyna